276 High Street, Batheaston, Bath
276 High Street is a Grade II late 18th century terraced house, situated within the Batheaston village conservation area and the indicative landscape setting of the World Heritage Site. The building is comprised of the original late 18th body of the building with a well-balanced and symmetrical 3-bay façade in Bath stone ashlar, and a later 19th century wing in rubble stone which appears to have formerly been a separate dwelling. Whilst in use as a single dwelling, these disparate portions of the building continue to read as separate terraced parts of the eclectic streetscape of Batheaston. A number of later alterations to the building has resulted in the loss of original finishes, such as the replacement of the timber sash windows with incongruous aluminium equivalents.
In light of the declared Climate Emergency, BPT is generally supportive of retrofit measures that protect elements that contribute to the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building; alterations are expected to be visually coherent with the character of the building, and the wider shared character of the two listed buildings and surrounding conservation area.
We acknowledge that the existing windows proposed for replacement are non-historic in origin and are in a poor condition, necessitating replacement.
This offers a positive opportunity for the implementation of energy-efficient retrofits without the loss of historic fabric, and the reinstatement of timber-framed sash windows with associated heritage gain.
We therefore highlight the opportunity for heritage gains by upgrading the existing windows with more materially appropriate alternatives. There are associated public benefits in the improved thermal performance of the proposed windows which would improve the building’s heat retention and associated residential comfort, whilst also contributing towards the council’s net zero objectives. However, we maintain that this must also be balanced against the use of an appropriate window design and finish to ensure that this would reinforce and sustain the special architectural and historic interest of a listed building, and the wider character and appearance of the conservation area.
As such, we have concerns regarding the proposed insertion of ‘standard’ 24mm double glazing without appropriate consideration or assessment of the potential detriment to the appearance or significance of a listed building. These are typically not as sympathetic to the character of a listed building due to their chunkier profile and ‘double reflection’. The proposed windows appear to be a standardised specification and are not tailored to the specific architectural interest of the Grade II building and its wider terraced setting. We do not consider this to be an acceptable approach to the principal elevation of the building, which is clearly visible within the local street scene. We therefore strongly recommend the consideration of a slimmer profile 14mm glazing as a more sensitive alternative.
Furthermore, no measurements of the proposed windows have been provided in relation to existing windows, namely the first-floor timber sash to be retained, and therefore the extent of change proposed by this application remains unclear. We strongly recommend that the proposed replacement windows should match the existing window to be retained as closely as possible in thickness, profile, and finish, to ensure a coherent approach across a significant historic façade.
We additionally feel the use of applied glazing bars, rather than traditional through glazing bars, is inappropriate and would be an incongruous visual addition to the building and its established fenestration style. We strongly recommend that this aspect of the scheme is amended to include through glazing bars to ensure a consistent, homogenous finish and the associated architectural interest of both listed buildings.
We note that the proposed four-over-four fenestration pattern proposed to the replacement first floor window in the 19th century wing is awkward and overly cramped in relation to the size of the window reveal. Within this context, a simpler two-over-two fenestration, as already utilised in the first-floor window within the recessed connection between the two buildings, may be better suited to the established scale and later date of this aspect of the building.
Therefore, whilst we are supportive of the principle of the installation of more thermally efficient glazing, we are resistant to the installation of standard 24mm glazing and strongly recommend consideration of a more sympathetic slimlite alternative. We strongly encourage that the proposed glazing bar design is reconsidered and alternative glazing suppliers consulted to find alternative options to appropriately balance limited less than substantial harm to a listed building against the potential public benefit.
BPT is very interested in working with the applicant to reach an acceptable solution and getting better understanding of the existing window condition and design.